Children Fleeing Violence Need Congress to Act Now
In what has become a true humanitarian crisis, nearly 60,000 refugees, mostly unaccompanied children, have come to the U.S. this year alone. This Wednesday, July 30, the Senate is expected to vote on a bill to provide $2.7 billion in emergency funding to help improve their already desperate situation. The House may also take up a bill this week, but it is expected to be far less – about $1 billion. The House bill is expected to increase border enforcement funds, but to do nothing to help the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to cope with housing, services, and protections for the children. The House is also likely to include policy restrictions that will mean speedier deportations without properly assessing children’s request for safe haven, and perhaps to require that other services are cut in order to pay for these emergency needs.
We’re activating our network to make sure all Members of Congress know that we’re watching and counting on them to do the right thing. That’s why we just sent an action alert to our network asking them to urge their Senators to vote for the funding on Wednesday, and their Representative to vote for funding that comes as close as possible to the Senate figure, without restrictions and without requiring other cuts. If you didn’t get the email or didn’t have a chance to act yet, please take action now.
Many of those arriving, including children as young as five years old, have fled violence in their countries by themselves or through paid smugglers. Some are trying to escape poverty; some are seeking family members already living in the U.S. Most have survived dangerous trips to get here.
Without additional funds, thousands of child refugees are likely to remain in holding facilities not intended to house them for any length of time, without needed services, and without enough judges to hear their asylum claims. Existing funds for dealing with this situation will start drying up in August, so Congress should enact the funding this week. They are not likely to; action may not be finalized until they return in September. But when you contact Congress, you demonstrate that constituents demand that children fleeing violence deserve protection.
Click here to access our action alert and tell your Senators and Representatives to support emergency funding for this humanitarian crisis today, and please share this alert widely with your personal and professional networks, too.
Thanks for taking action.